Treasure hunters destroy historic structure in Şile

Treasure hunters destroy historic structure in Şile

ISTANBUL – Demirören News Agency
Treasure hunters destroy historic structure in Şile

Taking advantage of measures against the coronavirus outbreak, treasure hunters have destroyed a historical building, which is believed to be a Byzantine-era cistern, in Istanbul’s Şile district.

The stones and bricks of the historical building in Bozgoca Bay were dismantled. It was seen that a five-meter-long tunnel was excavated to destroy the structure. The ropes and buckets used to remove the Earth were still at the site of the excavation. Also, the gloves on the tree branches grabbed attention.

Architect Bahadır Başaran, who is a resident in Şile, saw that the excavation was carried out in the region where the historical building is located. Seeing the tunnel excavated while walking, Başaran said, “I have been living here for about five years. This is my hiking route. I already discovered this place two years ago. I applied to the Board of the Monuments for the registration of this place. I think they did what they should have done. These processes were on paper. I was very upset when I learned that there was excavation here last week. Because even if it is registered on paper, these works will continue unless the municipality and the necessary institutions protect it.”

“This is an important cultural heritage. The brick and stone workmanship here were unique to the Byzantine period. Our Ottoman masters also learned from the Byzantine masters. For example, there is this workmanship in important mosques in Fatih and Aksaray. We know that this is Byzantine workmanship. I think this event happened a week ago. I have no idea whether it is night, day or how,” he added.

Coronavirus days no obstacle to treasure hunting

Stating that there was a church in the region years ago and that the church was destroyed over time, the Şile Environmental Volunteers Association’s president and geologist, Nabi Evren, said the historical building is the water cistern of that church.

“This was a very important natural harbor as a Byzantine settlement in the past. There was a castle and a church, now we are in front of the church cistern. These coronavirus days do not stop treasure hunters. Unfortunately, they ruined this place in the first week of April. This structure is registered. This building was a lovely Byzantine building. It was a building with bricks and stones. We did not know what it was. But later it was revealed that this was a water cistern and was the church’s holy spring. We have to protect it. I think local governments are very important here. The municipality has a big duty,” Evren said.

Stating that these should be prevented, Evren said, “They are destroyed one by one. The church of this structure was a magnificent church. It was also destroyed by treasure hunters; it does not exist today. We don’t have the traces of even its foundation. Now the water cistern is being destroyed. They started digging it among the trees. If you look around, it is possible to see many excavated places.”

The cemetery near the area where the excavation was made also faces danger of extinction. The gravestones among the bushes of Bozgoca attract attention.